Classroom management can be a positive experience -- for each child and for the class as a whole.
One key understanding of classroom management that I have recognized is:
In families and in society there are those who are adept at working together,
and those who excel at working on their own. 11 (Gardner, 1993) A classroom should also "recognize" in its structure and layout, as well as
in its creative management by the teacher, both of these personal modes - quietly introspective and openly social. But always
first should be the respect of silence in the classroom, and of each student's right to experience it
while studying." 36
In an ideal
day at school:
1) There should be ample time and quietude for deep study and for creative expression
at one’s desk 23
2) There should also be time for enthusiaistic sharing of the results of individual
work with the whole class 24
3) There should
be times of "bold adventure" when the whole class moves together in a great machinery of exploration and discovery
See "The Shape of the Land" lesson plan
These will be the counter points that run through the day and through the academic
year in my classroom.
Naturally built into a classroom management plan is the need for guiding students
toward good behavior. Quite simply, if teaching and learning are to remain mutually enjoyable, the class must agree to follow guidelines of respect and giving that are accepted everywhere in their society: in school;
in their family; and at their future places of employment. 3
Any discipline plan to create this caring behavior in my classroom will reflect the following sentiment:
“If we get along with each other and with the teacher we will have more time to learn
more. If we misbehave we will just have time for memorizing and rehearsing
rules – and much less time for the fun of learning.”
Since I intend to make learning in my classroom "100% fun" and satisfying, my students will
certainly want more and not less time to be available for it. Thus motivated, I
hope, they will work together to maintain their collective class time exclusively for creative learning.
See "Life in Colonial America" lesson plan
My goals for teaching are:
· To provide my students with a creatively-organized
environment in which to learn
To base my teaching upon mutual
respect and receptivity between myself and my students 41
· To structure all curriculum to be covered into "adventures in learning"; i.e. to capture the imagination of the children and thereby their attention from the start of every day
· To build feelings of self-worth in each child -- regardless of their level of skill or
present achievement -- by praising their accomplishments "one-to-one", and before the whole class
To use tests
as a vehicle for creating feelings of capability within the student
· To employ the artistic talents that are within each child -- each day,
in as many ways as I can, and throughout the standard curriculum
If, occasioanlly, a child has behavior problems I will keep that child within
the standard class as much as possible. I will use the "three-check system" of action-correction described by Maharishi School of the Age of Enlighhtenment, which allows a teacher to quietly correct inappropriate activity, without unnecessary embassment to the
child -- or, importantly, undue attention given to his misbehavior.
In my own schooling, it was always the teacher who in a quiet yet serious way enforced rules of
mutual respect between himself and me that gained my collaboration for the whole school year. 26
See "A Teaching Video"
"Time-out was never meant to be a punishment. Time-out was meant simply to be this:
to take a child who is receiving positive re-inforcement for negative behavior and put him in a situation where he is receiving
no reinforcement for negative behavior. Its not suppose to be a punishment."
- Rick Lavoie, in "When the Chips are Down"
In order to establish rules and procedures from the very start of the school year, I will follow
the examples given in the effective teachings of Harry and Rosemary Wong. These are described in the widely teacher-recommended
book, "The First Days of School". Only when standard classroom behavior and procedures are learned by the class in the first days of each school
year is the teacher empowered to later enforce rules as needed. Without this framework, the child, the teacher and the entire
class suffer. 39
Using these dual guidelines of kindness and discipline as a basis for my teaching, I hope to maintain
an even flow of progress in the classroom that is supportive of both maximum learning and maximum enjoyment of learning.